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Team sent to investigate strange goat disease associated with locust invasion

A  team of crop experts, veterinary officers and volunteers have been dispatched to to investigate a strange disease that has killed over a 100 goats in areas that have been invaded by the desert locust.

This  comes as leaders from North Eastern region blamed the National government for failing to contain the spread of the deadly pests, despite having been informed of their migratory trend towards the country from Somalia and Ethiopia in November last year.

Addressing the press at Agricultural Training Centre (ATC) in Garissa town on Friday after a meeting with the coordinating unit from the national and county governments monitoring the locust movement, the County Livestock Executive, Mohamed  Shale said the county risks losing huge parcels of pasture land if the spread is not contained.

The  Garissa County locust response team consists of county Government, officials’ office of  the County Commissioner, the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) and the Kenya Red Cross Society.

Shale  said that reports coming from the affected areas where death of animals have been reported only ‘serves to make an already bad situation worse’.

“We have unascertained information that more than 100 goats that have died as a result of grazing on leaves in areas that have been invaded and vacated by the desert locusts,” Shale said.

“However this is subject to confirmation. This is why we have sent a team of crop production and veterinary officers to collect samples from both the dead goats and the leaves for further lab tests,” he added.

Shale said that since the aerial spray started last week, the planes are only concentrated in Wajir and Mandera counties despite Garissa also being affected.

“As we speak the locust has affected the 3 sub-counties of Dadaab, Balambala and Lagdera that border Wajir. In Balambala alone which is the latest to be invaded, over 1, 7000 actress of pasture land and green vegetation have been destroyed,” the county executive said.

Shale  said that if the situation continues unchecked, the green vegetation that come as a result of the heavy rains could be lost within weeks resulting in an early drought situation.

He noted that the meat of the affected animals was yellowish and greenish in colour, a situation that alarmed the local herders.

The  Garissa Deputy County Commissioner, Samuel Njuguna said that they have already established coordinates for the affected areas to guide the plane in aerial  spray.

By  Jacob  Songok

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